Mumbai, May 6 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said educational and welfare institutions must strike a fair balance between ensuring equity and pursuing excellence.
In his address at the 66th convocation of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) here, Dr Singh said, ''to focus on one and lose sight on the other cannot serve the interests of either the organisation for which you work or the society at large''.
He said, ''we must strike a fair balance between doing good and doing and well, between ensuring equity and pursuing excellence. Our government would like to see that each of our institutions of education and welfare function within these parameters-be they schools and colleges, hospitals or muncipal and panchayat organisations.
''The men and women working in these organisations must have a sense of compassion to care for their clientele and the ability to ensure that they do their job well''.
Dr Singh said improving quality of manpower in government programmes was a major challenge. An equally important challenge was to improve the quality of management of the non-government sector.
India is a vibrant democracy that is home to the largest number of NGOs and voluntary organisations anywhere in the world. These groups add meaning to our democracy and energise civil society. However, as their size and scope increases, they also need professional managers. Moreover, they also need people who can take a long-term and holistic view of development,'' he added.
Dr Singh awarded PhD degrees to two scholars and MA degrees to eight of the total 181 students. He also laid the foundation stone of the Jamshetji Tata Centre for Disaster Management which would work to develop qualified, skilled and committed human resources to provide support in terms of research, training, networking and policy advocacy in the country.
The Prime Minister described the TISS endeavour as a national task and said the Centre was collaborating with the new centre in training of professionals in this field.
Dr Singh said his government had focussed on measures to create a comprehensive policy framework for social security and social welfare. But, the important step was to find sincere and honest people with integrity and commitment. ''I hope institutions like yours can send forth into society, motivated and hardworking young people who can improve the human resource element of our programmes'', he added.
He said a holistic perspective of development was important because interest groups, by definition, espouse sectional causes.
''Therefore, it is important that in doing so, interest groups must also learn to take a wider view of imperatives of development and the working of democratic institutions. It is important to remember that in a Parliamentary democracy, the institutions of the state are also part of civil society'', he said.
The Prime Minister further said a " democracy gives space to civil society groups to make representations on behalf of sections of people. But, these articulations of public interest must be balanced with the views of other segments of society including those of elected representatives of the people. A mature and liberal democracy must know how to balance these alternative voices of the people." Dr Singh said India's democratic institutions had stood the country in good stead. But after sixty years, they were in need for constant repair, rejuvanation and modernisation. Institutions like TISS must be pro-active in training and motivating the men and women who manage, administer and work for these instituions in democracy" he added.
He urged the social scientists to pay greater attention to the problems of the unorganised and informal sectors as well as the challenges facing the organised sector. ''We must find practical and consensual means of overcoming the hurdles to development so that our nation can realise its destiny'', he added.